By MH Staff - Posted on 20th September 2013
Training with the CrossFit Games champ is a brutal kind of fun. Endure, and you’ll reach your full potential
1 Start Here
Rich Froning Jr. is upside down, hands on the floor, heels against a wall, calmly explaining the challenges of handstand push-ups. “Your whole body should be rigid,” he tells me.
“Brace your core and clench your glutes. Trust your strength and, of course, remember to breathe.”
2 Skipping Rope Double-Under
First you need a rope that’s sized correctly. Place one foot on its centre point and raise the ends. They should reach almost to your nipples (with the handles horizontal). “Keep your butt and stomach tight, feet pressed together under your hips, and eyes looking forward, and bounce on the balls of your feet over the rope,” he says. That’s a single-under. Practice this for two to five minutes as part of each warm-up. For double-unders, you need to bounce a little higher and speed up your arms by snapping your elbows – almost as if you’re casting with a fishing rod. Start by doing one double-under at a time in the middle of your single-unders. Then do multiples, working up to 20 in a row.
3 Handstand Push-Up
If you can do two sets of 20 standard push-ups with good form, add a challenge by putting your toes on a 30cm box or bench. When you can do two sets of 20, advance to a higher box until you can hit those numbers again. Next try the pike push-up, with your toes on the high box, hips bent about 90 degrees, and torso nearly perpendicular to the floor. Once you can do two sets of 10, you’re ready for the handstand. Start with a pad beneath your head; have a buddy hold your feet the first few times. Kick your feet up to the wall, straighten your legs, and bend your arms as you slowly lower your head to the cushion. Aim for one or two reps for your initial set, and build up. Last year at the games, Froning did eight 68kg medicine ball cleans, a 30m medicine ball carry, seven handstand push-ups, and another 30m carry. He did all this three times – in seven minutes.
4 Pistol Squat
As a prerequisite, you’ll need to master the basic body-weight squat: with your feet shoulder-width apart and parallel and your arms straight out, push your hips back and bend your knees to lower your body until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Stand back up. When you’re able to do 40, progress to pistol squats. Be patient; it’ll take time and effort to build the required balance, core stability, hip mobility and leg strength.